Bicycle review: Kross Moon V3 (2014)

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Straight from Poland we got the Kross Moon in its finest version, the V3, a full-suspension warrior ready to please any enduro buff. The manufacturer didn’t hold back in praising its prodigy, ensuring us it can tackle any terrain we can think of, so we got to work, and put the bike to the test. The RVS (Revo Virtual Suspension) rear shock, Kross’s proprietary VPP system, along with the top-end specs, and appearance of the bike also made us curious about V3’s on-trail performance.

Frame/On the trail

Kross claims, like every other manufacturer, that its suspension is highly efficient both up- and downhill, but we soon found out things are a bit different. When roaring down the mountain, the bike’s rear wheel sticks to the ground, regardless if it has to cross over rocks, stones or roots, while in the case of uphill, the 160mm suspension fork simply can’t convince the front wheel to roll over ground. We’re not saying it’s a simple mission for an enduro mountain bike, but as long as other manufacturers did it, anyone else who wants the admiration of the off-road world should tick this box as well. Furthermore, even with the Fox Factory Float X rear shock set on Climb mode you waste a lot of energy pedalling uphill, not to mention when you pedal standing up. At least the pedal kickback phenomenon is reduced, but it’s brought to a minimal level, and still is greater than in the case of other high-quality fullies.

However, the suspension system makes up for all the minuses when you’re flying down the slopes, and the frame’s geometry assists it in this regard, making clear the fact that the Poles had descending in mind when they designed the V3. We’d even go so far as to say that light downhill trails are no match for this bike, as long as you set the pressure level of the shock at a higher level in order to prevent bottom outs. Taking a quick look over geometry, we find that Moon V3’s frame has a tapered headtube with an angle of 66 degrees, which allows you to tackle steep sections, remaining maneuverable in the same time thanks to its 60mm stem, and generous 750mm handlebar. A slight contradiction with this gravity-style set-up can be found in the seat tube angle of 73,5 degrees which would have helped when climbing if the suspension system would have backed it up. Another feature that encourages high-speed descending is the long chain stay.

Further elements that contribute to the high-end placement of this bike are the inner cable routing, and the dropper Rock Shox Reverb seat post, with hydraulic engagement, that allows you play with different seat heights in an interval of 125mm.

It’s figure time now, so let’s disclose some numbers. The frame tips the scale at 3.6 kilograms, quite decent for a full-suspension, while stiffness reaches a 53.4 Nm/degree level, and the STW ratio indicates 14.8 Nm/degree/kg, a value that must be met with the utmost understanding for the purpose of such bikes is just rolling as fast as possible downhill, not uphill. As for the total weight of the bike, you’ll have to manage with a 14,42 kilograms beast.

Specifications

In the right manner of a high-end bike, Kross fitted high-end components on the V3. Opening the list are the Avid X0 Trail hydraulic 4-piston disc brakes, which along with their 180mm rotors work like clockwork, have excellent modulation, and show only small signs of fading when on long descents. We shouldn’t forget about the drivetrain neither, with its double crankset (24/38), derailleurs and shifters all bearing the logo of the SRAM X0 groupset. Well, at least these are the specifications because, in reality, we had to do with a X9 rear derailleur as the original one got damaged, but functioning didn’t had too much to suffer. A chain guide comes in the aid of the crankset, and makes sure the chain doesn’t leave the small chainring in the wrong direction.

An obvious improvement can be found in the form of the Fox Factory 34 Float fork, the manufacturer trying really hard to enhance its performances, and actually succeeding in this endeavour. Small bumps manage to make the stanchions slide, while big bumps and uneven terrain are Float’s specialty. Throw whatever kind of trails you want at it, for this fork also features the CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend) function, although it could have used a remote for changing modes. Pointing out another of the Float’s lacks means also reminding that you cannot shorten its travel.

Kross Moon V3 rolls on a pair of DT Swiss EX1750 wheels that have 15mm and 12x142mm thru axles (front/rear), a pair perfectly in-line with the current trends and latest technologies, this characteristics helping improve stiffness. Schwalbe’s Hams Dampf EVO tires were the choice of the manufacturer, an option more efficient when it comes to wet conditions, and one that features a greater compound, more grippy in all conditions.

Conclusion

As we repeatedly mentioned in this review, Moon V3 doesn’t make for a magnificent climber, and even if it’s an enduro-purpose bike, it should. However, it makes up for this downside through what it can accomplish on descents, overwhelmingly ticking the fun, safety, and performance boxes of the category it belongs to. And also keep in mind that the V3 is at its first iteration, so we expect to hear more (great things) about it in the years to come.

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